As I approach the end of my fourth year as Dean of the Oberlin Conservatory
of Music, I am reminded of other Oberlin anniversaries.
year 2002 marked the 50th anniversary of Oberlin's Opera Theater
Department. Remarkably, the fall opera, Smetana's The Bartered Bride,
was the very opera performed here 50 years ago, and in the audience
were Ruth Bent '52 and Herb Henke '53, both of whom had significant
roles in the 1952 production.
anniversary in 2002 was 100 years of music education at the Conservatory.
In 1902 William Horner founded at Oberlin the nation's first school-music
course, which Dr. Karl Wilson Gehrkens '05 continued and which would
lead, in 1921, to the first four-year college-degree program in
music education in the United States.
This is the
35th year of Winter Term at Oberlin College, and this term's symposia,
lectures, and outreach have spanned the disciplines and the globe.
In addition to the on-campus activities of Conservatory students
and faculty, such as a Hugo Wolf centennial project and a performance
of Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, notable activities off-campus
have included a student string quartet residency at the Smithsonian
Institution; organ, harpsichord, and voice concerts in Naples, Florida;
an entirely student-run eight-state tour of the deep South by the
Oberlin Jazz Septet; and the Panama Project featuring instruction
and performances in Panama by Oberlin string and wind students.
season is the 125th anniversary of the Artist Recital Series at
Oberlin, one of the oldest continuing concert series in the United
States. We will mark that anniversary with yet another - the
50th anniversary of the Dave Brubeck Quartet's recording of Jazz
at Oberlin during a Finney Chapel concert. Catapulted to fame by
that album, the quartet will return to Oberlin October 4, 2003,
as part of the anniversary series. Other artists in the series are
violinist Ida Haendel, the Tallis Scholars, the Gryphon Trio, pianist
Lang Lang, eighth blackbird (all Oberlin alumni), baritone Sanford
Sylvan with pianist and Oberlin faculty member David Breitman, the
American Brass Quintet, and the venerable Cleveland Orchestra conducted
by Franz Welser-Möst.
We will soon
celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Conservatory and the 170th
anniversary of the appointment of Elihu Parsons Ingersoll to the
faculty of Oberlin College - the first professor of music at
any American college.
And let us
not overlook the fact that 2003 is the 170th anniversary of the
founding of Oberlin College. Finally, just in case no one has been
counting, next year will be the 10th anniversary of the appointment
of President Nancy S. Dye as President of Oberlin College.
illustrious history, each year will herald significant milestones.
I know you join me in appreciating the great traditions and legacies
of the past as we seek renewed resolve and vitality for the years
Robert K. Dodson